What are the levels of brain injury?

A Brain injury after a collision can be overwhelming and frightening.  There are more than one severity and their symptoms can vary.

Brain Injury
Brain Injury

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Mild Traumatic Injury

(Glasgow Coma Scale score 13-15)

• Loss of consciousness is very brief, usually a few seconds or minutes
• Loss of consciousness does not have to occur—the person may be dazed or confused
• Testing or scans of the brain may appear normal
• A mild traumatic brain injury is diagnosed only when there is a change in the mental status at the time of injury—the person is dazed, confused, or loses consciousness. The change in mental status indicates that the person’s brain functioning has been altered, this is called a concussion

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury

(Glasgow Coma Scale core 9-12)

Most brain injuries result from moderate and minor head injuries. Such injuries usually result from a non-penetrating blow to the head such as an auto collision. As luck would have it many individuals sustain such head injuries without any apparent consequences. However, for many others, such injuries result in lifelong disabling impairments.

A moderate traumatic brain injury occurs when:
• A loss of consciousness lasts from a few minutes to a few hours
• Confusion lasts from days to weeks
• Cognitive, and/or behavioral impairments last for months or are permanent.

Persons with moderate traumatic brain injury generally can make a good recovery with treatment or successfully learn to compensate for their deficits.

Severe Brain Injury

Glasgow Coma Scale (3-8)

Severe head injuries usually result from crushing blows or penetrating wounds to the head. Such injuries crush, rip and shear delicate brain tissue. This is the most life threatening, and the most intractable type of brain injury.

Frequently, severe head trauma results in an open head injury, one in which the skull has been crushed or seriously fractured. Treatment of open head injuries usually requires prolonged hospitalization and extensive rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is incomplete and for most part there is no return to pre-injury status. Closed head injuries can also result in severe brain injury.

TBI can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.

Repeated mild TBIs occurring over an extended period of time (i.e., months, years) can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive deficits. Repeated mild TBIs occurring within a short period of time (i.e., hours, days, or weeks) can be catastrophic or fatal.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician’s advice. Please always consult your physician for your medical needs.

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